Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

Author: amatava

Amanda Matava is Trinity College's Digital Archivist.

Antique Trinity Doorknob in 3D

As part of an ongoing initiative to develop photogrammetry capabilities for teaching and scholarship in collaboration with an alumni request, several LITS staff members [Dave Tatem, Amanda Matava, and Benny Bauer] worked to generate a 3D model of an antique Trinity doorknob using high-resolution photographs, a lightbox, a mechanized turntable, and Nikon camera this past September.

Some of the final images of the doorknob, which were successfully used to create the model. Click on the image to see animation!

Staff acquired the lightbox prior to the beginning of the semester in order to test the photography using  the camera on a tripod. The doorknob was manually turned 360 degrees and then turned upside-down, turned 360 degrees, and finally, turned on its head and photographed again, generating around 80 photos of the item. Unfortunately, manually turning the doorknob did not generate the results hoped for in Agisoft Metashape, the software used to generate the 3D model. Staff attempted to photograph the doorknob again using a makeshift turntable, and then finally, with an automated turntable. The automated turntable, which can will turn at even intervals using a remote control, provided the most consistent results. Dave also printed out a photogrammetry marker, upon which the doorknob sat while being photographed, to provide more data once the images were ingested into the software.

By photographing the 3D object from all angles, an object can be measured and analyzed in photogrammetry software, which extracts data from the digital photographs and allows for construction of a 3D model, wrapping the images over a mesh to the exact size and shape of the physical object. The photographs must be taken with 60-80% overlap, in order to ensure that all data of the object is captured. In this case, as the item was a doorknob, turning the object upside-down allowed for photographs to be taken of areas that were in shadow during the first pass, and turning the doorknob on its face allowed for more data to fill in any missing gaps.

In this case, the third time was the charm — and a wonderful 3D model was made! Dave posted the model to SketchFab, where it can be accessed publicly. After the success of the first photogrammetry session, Amanda and Benny plan to photograph and create models of the other two antique doorknobs.

The 3D model

Calling all Creators for #ColorOurCollections 2023!

Trinity College Color Our Collections 2020 drawing of facade of 1800s buildings.

Cover of the 2020 Color Our Collections coloring book

As part of #ColorOurCollections, a national movement started by the New York Academy of Medicine to transform its collections into coloring pages, Library & Information Technology Services will be publishing its annual coloring book in December 2022. This year’s book theme is “Trinity past, present and future,” whether that is a phrase, an image, a group represented, or something else!

Trinity College’s own #ColorOurCollections was organized in 2020 as a way to showcase its robust digital collections, which included print and image materials housed in JSTOR and BePress. The first coloring book featured three student submissions and was published in March, 2020. 

Important Dates! 

  • November 13, 2022: Deadline for Submissions
  • November 14-19, 2022: Contest Voting 
  • December 9, 2022: Coloring Book Launch Event in LITC 182, 1-4pm (with food!) 

This year, the coloring book has been revived in order to highlight new digital collections but more importantly, more student creations, as we prepare to celebrate 200 years of Trinity history. It is our hope that moving forward, #ColorOurCollections will be an annual event that highlights student artists of all styles and experience, as well as educate on what collections Trinity offers to the interested and curious researcher.  

All students are invited to submit original artwork as coloring book pages in our 2023 #ColorOurCollections contest. The winner, chosen from votes cast on our Instagram page and by visitors to the library, will receive a Jerry’s Artarama gift card. All entrants, regardless of winning status, are eligible to have their work included in the book.  

To enter the contest, submit an artwork in coloring book style to under the following guidelines:

  • Black & white
  • PNG or TIFF image
  • 300-400 ppi
  • 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Traditional art is welcome, as long as it meets the size requirements and is scanned into the correct file format.
  • Images larger than 30MB cannot be sent as an email attachment, but can be shared via OneDrive.  
  • Please note: we can assist with image conversion but may have to alter submissions in order to make them suitable for publication. Any altered images by us will NOT be eligible to win the contest.  

Please email all questions and submissions to by November 13, 2022.

Coloring Book Page of Dragon inside Blanket. "Time for a Blanket Nest."

“Time for a Blanket Nest” by Seb Kryspin ’20

As you will find in the coloring book, 200 years of history includes people, buildings, plants, organizations, thoughts, ideas, and much more. We are so excited to share the completed Bicentennial #ColorOurCollections book when it is published later this year. You can find the 2020 coloring book in the Digital Repository.

“Commencement Book” now available for view in Digital Repository

It is sometimes called Bishop Brownell’s Book, or the Commencement Book. Peter Knapp in his Trinity College in the Twentieth Century simply calls it, “The Book.”

Not to be confused with the Matriculation Book, “‘The Book’ is a small, early-19th century record book that all recipients of Trinity degrees touch during Commencement ceremonies,” Knapp states.  The Book remains unnamed due in part to its contents: its pages contain details of the Commencement exercises and degrees, prayers for graduates in Latin, and include signatures from more recent Trinity College presidential inaugurations. It is a curious and important piece of Trinity history, originating from a legendary mix-up during the first Commencement ceremony in 1827. College President Thomas Church Brownell intended for students to place their hands on a Bible during commencement exercises, but either couldn’t find one or realized he didn’t bring it with him to the ceremony, and so he used his personal record book instead.

“By chance, the Book became one of the college’s oldest traditions,” Peter Knapp writes. “The Book’s use at Commencement appears to have been inconsistent in the years following the Bishop’s Presidency, but it can be said with certainty that all Trinity graduates have touched it” since the 1946-47 academic year.

Thanks to the efforts of College Archivist Eric Stoykovich, the Book was recently retrieved for digitization and is now available to view in the Digital Repository. The physical book resides in a safe location on campus in order to ensure its preservation for annual use at Commencement.

Source: Trinity College in the Twentieth Century by Peter Knapp, pages 232-33.

Resist Newsletters join Digital Repository

Nearly 50 years of Resist, Inc. bi-monthly newsletters are now available in the Trinity College Digital Repository as text-searchable PDFs, soon to be joined by documents from Resist steering committee meetings. Part of a large archive recently donated by Resist, Inc. to Trinity College’s Watkinson Library, the newsletters provide a window into activities of the organization and into broader national and international resistance efforts as well.

Founded in Boston to support and promote resistance to the Vietnam War and draft, Resist authored “The Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority,” published 9/28/1967 in the New York Review of Books. Primary signers of this first “Call” included intellectuals and scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Dr. Benjamin Spock, William Sloane Coffin Jr., Dwight Macdonald, Allen Ginsberg, and Rev. Robert MacAfee Brown, and Trinity College’s Paul Lauter. The “Call” asked for universities, religious institutions, groups and individuals to “raise funds to organize draft resistance unions, to supply legal defense and bail, to support families and otherwise to aid resistance to the war in whatever ways seem appropriate” (“Call to Resist,” 1967). Monies received by Resist from monthly contributions and other sources were primarily channeled into grants for petitioning organizations, and much of the monthly steering committee meetings was dedicated to accepting or denying these numerous grant applications.

See the Paul Lauter ‘Sixties Archive in the Watkinson Library for related materials, and see also Trinity Tripod issues dated 1968-1970.

10,000 Pre-WWI Postcards Available Online

“Nothing in print is more universal than the postcard.”

— Postcards, the world in miniature; a plan for their systematic arrangement, with an index (1935) by George Watson Cole.

The Digital Collections and Services Department recently completed digitization of the George Watson Cole postcard collection in the Watkinson Library, now publicly available online in ArtStor. The collection consists of over 10,000 European postcards depicting pre-WWI England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, and Belgium; there are also included several hundred American postcards, primarily of everyday life in Southern California and Native Americans in the Southwest.

George Watson Cole (1850-1939)  was a librarian and bibliographer, friend and contemporary of famous librarians Melvil Dewey and Charles Cutter. Born in Warren, CT, he became librarian in Fitchburg, MA and enrolled in the first class of Melvil Dewey’s library school at Columbia University. He received an honorary doctorate from Trinity in 1920, and donated the European portion of his extensive postcard collection to the Watkinson Library. He put his librarianship to good use in organizing and labeling his postcard collection.

In the early 1900s, Cole embarked on travels throughout Europe and the United States and collected every postcard he could find at various stops in towns, cities, museums, and landmarks. Cole believed in postcards’ value as historic records. Further, he believed that keeping these visual representations should be a constant action that tracked changes over time. The images in the postcards are a slice of life: people, streets, maps, monuments, art museums, and churches as they appeared at the turn of the century and before two world wars devastated Europe.

Toward the end of his life, in 1933, Cole decided to donate the his personal papers, books, and postcard collection (which he estimated contained over 25,000 postcards) to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. As the AAS only collects American materials, Robert Vail the AAS librarian accepted Cole’s gifts of his personal papers and American postcards, but declined the European half of the collection (Source: Postcards in the Library: Invaluable Visual Resources edited by Norman D. Stevens).

And whether by accident or not, Cole left about 500 Californian postcards along with his European collection to Trinity. The California postcards depict everyday life from the Southern California area — Avalon, Mount Lowe, Los Angeles, Orange County, Long Beach, Venice, and Santa Monica. A small number of American postcards in the Trinity collection also depict Native Americans in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

They are a testimony to how so much has changed — but also to what has not.

Click on the postcards below for a larger view!

Digital Collections & Services Projects Update

The student staff working for Digital Collections & Services has been busy this semester completing two projects: the George Watson Cole Postcard collection, and the Trinity College Bulletins, housed in Watkinson. Students have digitized hundreds of postcards this semester, with just a few hundred remaining which will complete Trinity’s digital collection of Cole’s 10,000 postcards. The postcards already digitized and cataloged are available for view in Shared Shelf Commons and Artstor. George Watson Cole was a librarian and bibliographer, friend and contemporary of famous librarians Melvil Dewey and Charles Cutter, who traveled through France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and England in the early 1900s and collected every postcard he could find. As a result, Trinity houses one half of his 20,000 postcards, primarily depicting pre-WWI Europe and some of California. These postcards show a slice of life: people, towns, maps, and churches as they appeared at the turn of the century and before two world wars devastated Europe.

The Trinity College Bulletins are also nearly complete, with a few volumes left from the 1940s and 50s, on which the students are currently working. During Fall 2017, the students completed digitization of Bulletins from the early 1990s to 2010.

The Bulletins include annual reports of the College President, Treasurer, and Librarian, the yearly library catalog and curriculum, necrology lists, faculty publications, photographs, summer school and graduate school information, among other booklets. The digitized bulletins stem from 1829 and are available to view on the Digital Repository. To get to the digital repository, visit the college library catalog –> Digital Collections –> Digital Repository –> College history, archives, and publications.

A biography of James Williams (1790 – 1878), who served as janitor to Trinity College for over 50 years, is also now available in the Digital Repository.

Connecticut Connections: Historical College Scrapbooks from Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University

Over the past year, the CTW Digital Projects Group, which encompasses staff from Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University, came together to consider how the three schools might collaborate on digitizing and publishing archival or other materials owned by each school.

For its pilot project, the group selected student-made scrapbooks from multiple eras: those of Linda Abel, a student at Connecticut College from 1965-1969, Lynn Smith Miller, a student at Wesleyan from 1910-1914, and Phillip DeWitt Phair, who attended Trinity College from 1890 – 1894. The scrapbooks offer a glimpse into college student life during these periods through ephemera such as playbills and athletic event tickets, dance and social cards, artwork, valentines, invitations and letters, newspaper clippings, menus, and miscellaneous objects.

Utilizing the University of Southern California’s open-source platform, Scalar, members of the group scanned and uploaded an image of each scrapbook page, jointly decided on metadata fields, and added metadata and descriptions for each page, as well as a biography and introduction to each scrapbook.

“Connecticut Connections” was recently presented at the CTW Retreat in downtown Hartford and is publicly available online at: 

Deer Jumping a Fence: March 12, 1908, Canaan, CT.

The Enders Ornithology Lantern Slides Collection comprises over 800 hand-tinted glass plate photographs, produced by Herbert Keightley Job from 1896 to 1925. Job was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864 and was a minister, lecturer, author, ornithologist, and pioneer wildlife photographer.

Job’s slides are digitized and make up part of the Ostrom and Alice Talcott Enders Ornithology Collection, a comprehensive collection of over 5,000 items including books, original artwork, periodicals, and more in the Watkinson Library.

While many of Job’s slides are of birds, he photographed this deer in Canaan, CT jumping over a fence on March 12, 1908! Other slides include scenes of everyday life as well as architecture, landscapes, and animals, some of which were taken throughout Connecticut. What you find may surprise you!

Visit the Digital Collections page and select “Enders Ornithology Lantern Slides” under “Image Collections in Shared Shelf Commons” to view the collection. Learn about lantern slides here.